Our Founders

Davis Robertson

Davis Robertson // Artistic Director

DAVIS ROBERTSON is a co-founder and Artistic Director of New York Dance Project, a nonprofit dance company with a unique model that challenges dancers and audiences in a diverse repertory that includes classic ballet, modern, contemporary, and cutting-edge new work. Robertson is also a repetiteur for The Gerald Arpino Foundation, and the former Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet School. He also co-founded Russian Ballet International and worked with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow to establish Bolshoi Academy summer programs in Italy and Australia, and to recruit students to Moscow.

Robertson, who started as a break dancer, became a principal with the Joffrey Ballet, where his roles included the Cavalier in Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker, George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, Petruchio in John Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew, Death in Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table and David Parson’s Caught. His portrayal of the Faun in the Joffrey’s reconstruction of Vaslav Nijinsky’s L’Après-Midi D’un Faune prompted the Chicago Sun-Times dance critic to write, “Robertson gives the finest performance I’ve seen, including that of Rudolf Nureyev for whom the Joffrey re-created this masterpiece in 1979.”

Robertson also danced principal roles for the Metropolitan Opera, Lar Lubovitch, David Parsons, and Twyla Tharp’s Movin’ Out on Broadway. In addition to his work on stage, he has appeared in major motion pictures and television hits such as Law and Order, Dance Moms, The Company, and Save the Last Dance.

A versatile choreographer, he has created works for The Joffrey Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Milwaukee Ballet, VSA Arts at the Kennedy Center, and Giordano Dance Company, among many others. He was selected to choreograph for the graduating class of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy featuring Joy Womack, and his article on contemporary dance pedagogy was presented and published by the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in the proceedings of the 2012 conference on contemporary dance in Moscow.

Robertson also directed the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group, the pre-professional company founded by Robert Joffrey in 1981. He has mentored hundreds of aspiring dance students into the professional dance world, with the support of emerging and established contemporary choreographers such as Karole Armitage, Africa Guzman, Roger C. Jeffrey, Larry Keigwin, Gabrielle Lamb, Brian McSween, and Dwight Rhoden. A sought-after teacher both nationally and internationally, his teaching credits include The Juilliard School, New York Theater Ballet, STEPS on Broadway, SUNY Purchase Conservatory, Joffrey Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and the Florida Ballet.

Nicole Duffy Robertson

Nicole Duffy Robertson // Associate Artistic Director

NICOLE DUFFY ROBERTSON is a co-founder and Associate Artistic Director of New York Dance Project. She danced with the Joffrey Ballet for over a decade, based both in New York and Chicago, performing works by Joffrey, Arpino, Ashton, Balanchine, Cranko, DeMille, Limon, Massine, and Nijinska, among many others.

Ms. Duffy is also a répétiteur for The Gerald Arpino Foundation, dedicated to passing on the historical Joffrey repertory to the next generation. Most recently, she staged Arpino’s Light Rain, and assisted Trinette Singleton in the reconstruction of Robert Joffrey’s Gamelan. She teaches master classes and workshops nationally and internationally, guest teaches for the Ballet Hispanico company and STEPS on Broadway, and is on the faculty of Marymount Manhattan College. For many years Ms. Duffy was on the faculty of the Joffrey Ballet School, where she taught ballet, repertory, and implemented the dance history curriculum. She was also ballet master of the Joffrey Concert Group.

Raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she began her training with Ana Garcia and Maria Carrera at Ballets de San Juan, dancing the classical and Balanchine repertory. During her time at BSJ she also worked with Frederic Franklin, Ivan Nagy, and Melissa Hayden, and shared the stage with luminaries such as Rudolf Nureyev, Fernando Bujones and Cynthia Gregory. Ms. Duffy graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Art History from Columbia University, and has an M.A. in dance and art history from New York University’s Gallatin School. Her writing has been published in The Massachussetts Review, Eye on Dance and the Arts, and the NYU journal Esferas.